शुभं करोति कल्याणं आरोग्यं धनसम्पदाम् ।
शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योति नमोस्तुते ॥
Shubhamkaroti kalyanam arogyam dhanasampada
shatrubuddhivinashaya deepajyoti namostute
All of us as children remember lighting a lamp in front of God and reciting the Holy verse ‘Shubhankaroti kalyanam’. Even today wherever lights are switched on, even when travelling in a bus, most of us fold our hands to pay obeisance. This shows our faith in the lamp. Diwali is a festival of lights. Since times immemorial, lamps have been given an extraordinary repute of respect, honour and faith. Today our lives are illuminated by various modern lighting equipment. However, these equipment still do not have the radiance of an oil lamp. From evening to early morning, the human life is illuminated by lights of various sorts. Even though we could look at both oil and electric lamps merely as a ‘source of illumination’, their function and importance is indeed unique, extraordinary.
In reality, Diwali means ligthing
the lamp of wisdom within ourselves, akin to Saints
The world of lights have always been an integral part of human life. Without lights, human life would be incomplete. Hence man has been living, is living and will continue to live in this world of lights. Progress of the man, the society he lives in and in turn the progress of the nation is dependent upon the number of lamps he enlightens. Saint Dnyaneshwar has said, ‘By removing the lampblack of nescience if you enlighten the lamp of wisdom within youself, then similar to the ascetics, you will experience the Bliss of Diwali, eternally. This will be your real Diwali.’
Types of lamps
For centuries man has been creating different kinds of lamps and is continuing to do so. Yet they can be broadly classified into 3 – oil lamps, gas lamps and electric lamps. Solar lamps, although are different, they fall in the category of electric lamps.
Enticing festival of lamps
Lamps used when offering arti to River Ganga
Even today the courtyard of various temples has pillars on which oil lamps are lit especially during festivals. That scene is eye-catching and cannot be described in words. The arrangement of lit lamps from the lowest step of the temple to its peak is enchanting and well-known. Such festivals of lamps are held even today. When lit lamps are released into the river flow, it gives a mesmerizing effect. When such innumerable lit lamps are released in river Ganga at Haridwar, the floating lamps and their reflection creates enchanting image which gets imprinted in our mind.
Lamps from ancient times
In the ancient times it was a practice to make lamps from seashells or stones with depressions in them. Wicks were made from plants such as jowar. In ancient times, stones with a dip were used by people and wicks were made of cotton. Oil was used in such lamps.